National contracts have been awarded to Aiden Markram and Lungi Ngidi after they made their international debuts during the past contract year.
The contracts will cover the the bilateral tours away to Sri Lanka and Australia as well as the home series against Zimbabwe, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, finishing with the 2019 edition of the ICC World Cup to be played in England and Wales.
CSA had a contracted squad of 21 last year, due to the heavy workload that lay ahead, but now they have decided to revert to the original allowance of 18 across all formats.
Morne Morkel, who announced his retirement from international cricket after the Australia Test series, automatically fell away, but Stephen Cook, Farhaan Behardien, Wayne Parnell and Aaron Phangiso all lost their contracts.
There was, surprisingly, no contract for Theunis de Bruyn, who has played four Tests, including the first Test against Australia in Durban.
‘We made an exception last year in increasing the number of contracted players to 21 but this year we are comfortable that the normal standard number of 18 will be appropriate to maintain our national squads across all three formats,’ said CSA acting chief executive Thabang Moroe. ‘This enables us to contract both our Test players as well as those who are limited-overs specialists.
‘Aiden and Lungi have both made an immediate impact on the international scene and this is a continuation of our policy of having a strong squad with a good mix of young and experienced world-class stars,’ he added.
Markram is now a seven-Test veteran and rated No 19 in the world, while Ngidi make an immediate impact with a return of 6-39 in the first of his two Tests. He also has four ODI and three T20I caps.
CSA contracted players: Hashim Amla (Cape Cobras), Temba Bavuma (Cape Cobras), Quinton de Kock (Titans), AB de Villiers (Titans), JP Duminy (Cape Cobras), Faf du Plessis (Titans), Dean Elgar (Titans), Imran Tahir (Dolphins), Keshav Maharaj (Dolphins), Aiden Markram (Titans), David Miller (Knights), Chris Morris (Titans), Lungi Ngidi (Titans), Andile Phehlukwayo (Dolphins), Vernon Philander (Cape Cobras), Kagiso Rabada (Highveld Lions), Tabraiz Shamsi (Titans), Dale Steyn (Titans).
Photo: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images